A veteran deputy in Kansas died Sunday in a fiery crash after a suspected drunken driver slammed into his stopped patrol car, authorities said.
Master Deputy Brandon Collins, 45, was conducting a traffic stop at about 1:30 a.m. when a pickup truck barreled into his cruiser, engulfing both vehicles in flames, The Kansas City Star reported.
The truck’s driver ran from the collision, but was arrested a short while later when K9 units tracked him down, authorities said.
“He was very much loved,” said Darla Jaye, the sheriff’s department spokeswoman. “He was kind, fair and funny. He never met anyone who didn’t become a quick friend.”
The deputy is survived by his wife and two young daughters.
Johnson County sheriff’s deputy killed in crash during traffic stop https://t.co/RkQVqDoFi0
— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) September 11, 2016
“He was just one of those guys you just liked to be around,’’ Sheriff Fran Denning told the paper Sunday. “He didn’t know a stranger and a stranger got to know him fairly well.
“Anytime an American policeman passes, especially in the line of duty, I think it takes a little bit from all of us,” the sheriff said. “You lose a piece of your heart. You lose a piece of your soul.”
The pickup’s driver was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, the paper reported. The investigation remained open and it was unclear what charges he may face.